How to Write the Perfect Cold Outreach Emails and LinkedIn Messages

Cold Outreach - Style Nine to Five

Mastering cold outreach is key for job seekers looking to expand their network and access new career opportunities. Whether you’re aiming to connect with potential employers, collaborators, mentors, or recruiters, a well-crafted cold email or LinkedIn connection request can make all the difference. 

We’ll explore easy strategies for cold outreach so your message stands out and gets a positive response. From personalized subject lines to compelling content, you can learn the art of making a memorable first impression that opens doors and builds connections in your industry. We’ll give plenty of cold outreach examples, including email and LinkedIn templates that you can put to work in helping with your job search. Let’s get started!

When To Use Cold Outreach 

What’s the meaning of cold outreach? It refers to initiating contact with people or organizations that you don’t have an existing relationship with. Also known as cold-calling, modern cold outreach happens through email or social media. Cold outreach is used to introduce yourself and propose a mutually beneficial connection. It involves sending unsolicited messages to potential clients, employers, or collaborators to create new opportunities and expand your network. Here are a few times when using cold outreach is especially helpful:


One key time for using cold outreach is when you’re trying to grow your professional network. Reaching out to industry leaders, potential employers, and peers can open doors to collaborations, partnerships, and knowledge-sharing that you might not have on your own. By actively expanding your network, you increase your visibility and enhance your career development prospects.

Job Hunting

Another critical time for cold outreach is during a job search. Instead of solely relying on job postings, proactively contacting hiring managers or employees at your target companies can set you apart from other candidates. Reaching out showcases your initiative and enthusiasm—traits that employers look for in new members who want to join their team. Cold outreach also provides an opportunity to express your unique value directly to the hiring manager, which might not be as effectively communicated through a standard job application using a web form.

Changing Industries

Cold outreach is also beneficial when entering a new industry or market. Establishing contacts with experienced professionals can offer valuable insights and guidance, helping you navigate unfamiliar territory more effectively. It can also lead to referrals and recommendations, helping to boost your chances of landing a new role or project.

Does Cold Outreach Actually Work?

In a word, yes—cold outreach does work! In fact, I’m the Managing Editor for Style Nine to Five thanks to sending a cold email to our founder, Christie Lohr back in 2020. I saw from her social media that she had her plate full running her business and I knew creating blog content takes a lot of time, so I pitched my services in a cold email and I’ve been working with her ever since! 

One reason why cold outreach works so effectively is its direct and personal nature. Unlike job boards or online applications, cold outreach lets you connect directly with decision-makers and influencers in your industry. This direct line of communication can put you at the front of the line instead of buried in crowded applicant pools, giving your message a better chance of being seen and considered by employers.

Cold outreach also works because it demonstrates proactivity and initiative, characteristics that employers highly value. Reaching out on your own shows that you are resourceful and genuinely interested in the opportunity, setting you apart from other candidates who only follow traditional application paths.

Social media platforms, particularly LinkedIn, help your cold outreach efforts by providing context and credibility. Because a strong LinkedIn profile offers detailed work histories, endorsements, and mutual connections, recipients can quickly verify your background and assess your fit. This visibility into your character and experience builds trust and makes your outreach more compelling.

All you need is the right know-how on what to say in your cold outreach messages—keep reading and we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of successful email and LinkedIn connection requests.

Cold Outreach Best Practices

Cold outreach can be a powerful tool for expanding your network and creating new opportunities. To maximize your success, it’s essential to follow best practices that emphasize personalization, clarity, gratitude, and connection. Let’s explore the keys to a good cold outreach strategy.

Personalized Messages

Personalization is key in cold outreach. Generic emails are easily ignored, while personalized messages show that you’ve done your homework and genuinely care about the recipient. Start by using their name (no “To Whom It May Concern” under any circumstances!) and reference specific details about their work, company, or recent achievements. 

For example, mention a recent article they published or a project their company launched. You can find this information by spending a little time scrolling through their Instagram feed or doing an online search for recent press they’ve received. Taking the time to personalize your message and cater it specifically to the recipient shows your genuine interest and helps build rapport from the outset.

Create a Connection

Focus on creating a genuine connection with the recipient. Highlight any common interests, mutual connections, or shared goals. For example, if you both went to the same university or are members of the same professional organization, mention it! Building a connection makes your outreach more memorable, and when you align your goals with the recipient’s interests, it creates a win-win scenario that encourages engagement and a positive response.

Keep It Clear and Concise

Writing a message that’s short, sweet, and to the point is crucial in cold outreach. Busy employers don’t have time to read novel-length emails, so keep your message short and to the point. Clearly state who you are, why you’re reaching out, and what you’re asking for. A straightforward approach respects the recipient’s time and makes them more likely to read and understand your message.

Show Gratitude

Being grateful for the recipient’s time and consideration is another important practice. Expressing appreciation and showing gratitude go a long way in setting a positive tone. A simple line like, “Thank you for taking the time to read this email,” makes all the difference in showing that you value the recipient’s attention. Gratitude also humanizes your outreach, making it more relatable and less transactional.

Cold Email Outreach Template

Writing a good cold outreach email helps job seekers open doors to unadvertised opportunities and create a strong first impression with potential employers. A well-crafted email written with clear communication skills increases the chances of a positive response from potential employers. Let’s dissect the three core parts of a cold email: the subject line, body, and closing to learn how to ace your next email outreach.

1. Cold Email Subject Lines

The subject line is your first chance to grab attention. Make it relevant and intriguing. The best cold outreach subject lines are specific and friendly. You want to capture the recipient’s attention and let them know what your email is about. Avoid generic or bland subject lines that don’t give them a specific indication of what they can expect when they open your email. Some examples of what NOT to use as a subject line:

• Hi

• Job application

• Job at your company

A tried and true email subject line template is: Hello! + [Specific Purpose]. Here are a couple of cold email outreach examples:

• Hello! + Connecting about Style Nine to Five content creation

• Hello! + Marketing Director application 

• Hello! + Learning more about the eCommerce Manager role

2. Cold Outreach Email Body

Just like the subject line, you want your email to be positive, upbeat, and concise—busy professionals appreciate brevity and clarity. This isn’t the time to tell your life’s story or paste in your entire cover letter. Instead, keep it short and sweet, writing just enough to explain who you are and what you can bring to the table. 

Begin with a personalized greeting, using the recipient’s name. Follow with a brief introduction of who you are and why you’re reaching out. Highlight any mutual connections or shared interests to build credibility and relevance.

Next, focus on the value proposition and clearly explain what you can offer and why it benefits the recipient. Avoid generic pitches—tailor your message to address their specific needs or challenges. 

Here are a few examples of good email body copy that you can repurpose and use yourself:

Example #1

Hi Christie! I’m a fashion writer and noticed that Style Nine to Five is expanding into exciting new job seeker services—congratulations on the success! I believe my writing and editing skills can help take blog writing off your plate so you can focus on growth while still delivering meaningful content to your audience. It would be great to chat with you about your content needs and explore the options for working together as you scale up!

Example #2

Hi Mary! I saw your recent LinkedIn post about [Retailer] expanding your eCommerce marketing initiatives. As a loyal Holts customer and fashion marketer with over 10 years of experience, I’d be thrilled to be part of this exciting journey. I thought I’d reach out to start the conversation about working together with you and your team and would love the chance to discuss any opportunities. 

Example #3

Hi Stella! Congratulations on [Jewelry Brand’s] new birthstone ring launch—the pieces are stunning! I saw the news about your recent store openings in Toronto and Montreal and I’d love to join your team in an operations role to help navigate your exciting growth. With 5+ years of experience in logistics and project management, I think I’d be a great fit for joining your team and helping streamline efficiencies as you expand your brand. 

3. Cold Email Closings

After you’ve put together the body of your email, end with a call to action, like scheduling a call or meeting, and express willingness to accommodate their schedule. Politeness and respect for their time are key, and make sure you express your gratitude.

Here are some examples of cold outreach email closings that strike the right balance of being positive and proactive while showing your respect and gratitude:

• I’d love to talk more about working together. Please let me know if your team has any open marketing positions where I could bring my skills to the table. Thanks for your time!

• If you have any opportunities available, I’d love to discuss your needs and explore any options for joining your team. Thanks for your consideration and I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts! 

• It would be great if you have time to connect to talk about this position or any other opportunities your team has. Please let me know if you’d like to set up a time next week that works for you and we can discuss and go from there! Thanks in advance for your time!

LinkedIn Cold Outreach Template

Mastering cold outreach on LinkedIn can be a game-changer for job seekers who are looking for new work opportunities. A well-crafted cold outreach LinkedIn message is crucial for making a positive and lasting impression and making coveted connections. Here are some tips for writing an effective LinkedIn connection request:

• Personalize Your Message: Address the recipient by name and mention something specific about their profile or recent activities. This shows you’ve done your homework and are genuinely interested in connecting.

• Introduce Yourself Clearly: Briefly explain who you are and why you’re reaching out. Mention your current role and how it relates to the recipient’s work. Keep this section concise to maintain their interest.

• State Your Purpose: Clearly articulate why you’re connecting. Whether it’s to seek advice, explore collaboration opportunities, or discuss common interests, be upfront about your intentions.

• Offer Value: Highlight what you can offer in return. Whether it’s sharing insights, providing a useful resource, or discussing potential synergies, make it clear that the connection will be mutually beneficial.

• End with a Call to Action: Encourage a response by ending with a question or a request for a brief meeting. This makes it easier for the recipient to engage with your message.

Remember that you only have 200 characters (or 300 if you’ve upgraded to Premium) for your connection request note, so you might only have room to go into detail on any of these points. 

LinkedIn Connection Request Template

Keeping the formula Personalization + Introduction + Purpose + Value + CTA in mind, here’s an easy LinkedIn cold outreach template:

Hi [name]! I’m a [job title] looking to connect to [purpose] and tell you more about how I can do [value] for your company. Looking forward to [call to action] and talking with you soon! Thanks! 

LinkedIn Connection Request Examples

Steal these examples of 200-character notes to send along with your connection request and personalize them to make them work for you:

Example #1

Hi Christie! I’m a writer looking to connect to talk about how I can create content for Style Nine to Five. I’d love to start the conversation about helping out and joining your team! Thanks!

Example #2

Hi Mary! I’m a fashion marketer looking to connect and learn more about the Marketing Director role at [Retailer]. I’d love to tell you more about how my campaigns can help grow your sales. Thanks!

Example #3

Hi Stella! I work in operations and would love to discuss the eCommerce Manager role with [Jewelry Brand]. Let’s connect so I can tell you more about how I can help your team improve efficiency. Thanks!

The Bottom Line

Cold email and LinkedIn outreach can significantly enhance your job search strategy, giving you a proactive and personalized approach to connecting with potential employers. By carefully crafting your messages, you demonstrate initiative, resourcefulness, and genuine interest—qualities that can set you apart from other candidates who don’t take the time or initiative to reach out. 

Remember to approach cold outreach with respect and professionalism, always showing gratitude for the recipient’s time and consideration and showing them the value you can offer them. By following a few best practices, you can enhance your chances of receiving positive responses and opening doors to exciting career opportunities. 

Now that you have the recipe for a great cold outreach message, you need a stellar resume to send. Try Style Nine to Five’s Resume Refresh service where Founder Christie Lohr gives your CV a complete makeover so it’s in top shape to share with potential employers. 

Jeanine Gordon is a freelance content marketer with a passion for creating stellar strategies for global brands and small businesses alike, specializing in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle.

Feature Image: Adobe Stock